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  • I'm struggling, and I need help

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    Old 10-22-2012, 02:12 PM   #1
    cjspurlock's Avatar
    Join Date: Aug 2012
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    Exclamation I'm struggling, and I need help

    Hello everyone,

    I've posted here in the past, but lately I feel like I'm struggling with my health anxiety and depression more than usual, so I'm looking for some support and encouragement.

    If you want to read about my previous history, tests, symptoms, etc., here's that post:

    The long and short of it is that, since January of this year, I've gone though a number of bizarre symptoms (most of which many of you are probably familiar with) and I've had several tests (which all came back normal, or course). I'm a 23-year-old male who moved to New York City immediately after graduating college and left his family and girlfriend behind. I'm back home in the Midwest now (with family and girlfriend, too) but my symptoms haven't eased; on the contrary, it feels like they're worsening.

    On a daily basis, I'm currently battling:
    • Sensitivity to light and sound
    • Pounding heart
    • Shortness of breath, especially during exercise
    • Feeling like I can't take a deep breath
    • Chest pain/tightness/pressure all day (<-- this is the worst one)
    • Sternum cracking/popping when stretching or breathing deep
    • Back pain and tension
    • Constant sighing and yawing
    • Frequent belching
    • General malaise
    And occasionally, I'll also get:
    • Headaches
    • Dizziness
    • Lightheadedness
    • Head/body feeling hot
    • Confusion
    • Tingling in arms
    • Nausea
    • Throat tightness
    • Stabbing pain in the rib region (left side)
    I've been prescribed Lexapro and so far have resisted taking it, but I'm getting close to giving in. I'm doing CBT every other week, yoga twice a week, seeing a chiropractor once a week, and reading a million books.

    My latest theory is that Chronic Hyperventilation Syndrome is causing most of my symptoms, so I'm trying to practice Buteyko breathing...but so far, it's been unsuccessful. I've read Dinah Bradley's book and I'm in the middle of Patrick McKeown's, but every day I feel like giving up. Both books describe my symptoms perfectly, but I can't seem to get their methods to work for me. I'm so impatient.

    I'm taking fish oil and magnesium daily, and I just started PharmaGABA and an adrenal support supplement too, hoping "natural" methods will do the trick. So far, no luck.

    Right now, the depression is growing heavy. I can't go anywhere or do anything for pleasure. Wherever I am, the hamster wheel of fear is constantly spinning. "Oh my God, what if I have _______?" Depending on the day, that blank could be filled with "a heart defect," "lung cancer," "a pulmonary embolism," and so on.

    I haven't truly enjoyed a date with my girlfriend or an evening with my family in months, and they can tell. I was hoping to get engaged before Christmas, but I don't feel like I can't propose for fear that I won't actually enjoy the moment. I want to look back on that day and feel joy, not regret that I couldn't savor the experience. I can't even get excited about shopping for engagement rings. Yesterday I went to a football game with my girlfriend's family and barely smiled. I spent the whole game worrying about how I was feeling. I hate behaving like this, but I don't know any other way at the moment.

    Last week I caved to my hypochondriac tendencies and scheduled an appointment with a chest specialist to get my chest pain and breathing trouble looked at again. Yeah, I know I've already had blood work and several EKGs, worn a 30-day heart monitor, done a treadmill stress test and a tilt table test, etc., but I haven't had a chest x-ray! Maybe there's something there! Ugh... I have that appointment in two weeks, so we'll see.

    So, I guess my question is: Who's been in my shoes before? Who has felt like giving up and resigning themselves to a life full of pain and unpleasant (and terrifying) symptoms? And, has anyone come through on the other side, healed? I need something to give me some hope.

    Is lexapro the answer? Or part of the answer? Should I find a different therapist (I don't particularly like mine)? How can I turn my brain off and just relax? I don't even remember what it felt like not to carry this burden every day.

    Thank you all for being here.


    Last edited by cjspurlock; 10-22-2012 at 03:12 PM.

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    Old 10-29-2012, 04:18 PM   #2
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    Re: I'm struggling, and I need help

    Yes!! what you are going through is Normal and many of us here have gone through the exact same thing...Please take the meds your doctor prescribed..they will not work right away but will take anywhere from 3-6 weeks to work...and it can make it worse at first.But you will be so happy you did ..and you will get better..and eventually feel like yourself again..hope this helps..I feel for ya

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    cjspurlock (10-29-2012)
    Old 10-29-2012, 04:40 PM   #3
    cjspurlock's Avatar
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    Re: I'm struggling, and I need help

    Wow, thanks for the reply, spungy! It came at precisely the right time.

    Had what I think was a panic attack this afternoon during a time of heavy work stress.

    Here's what happened:

    - Chest tightness/pressure increased from its normal amount
    - Left arm started to hurt and left hand started to tingle
    - Jaw got tight (not really painful) and a little tingly
    - Pulse increased a bit
    - Got a little dizzy
    - Thoughts were racing, felt like I would die right there

    That lasted for about 25-30 minutes before I calmed down. Had to step away from my computer and lie down for a few.

    Because I'm 23 and I've been tested pretty extensively (30-day Holter, heart echo, treadmill stress test, dozens of EKGs, blood work, tilt table, etc.), I shouldn't worry about it being a heart attack, but damn if it didn't feel like one.

    My jaw is still a little sore, as is my arm, but the chest pressure is back to its normal low-grade constant.

    This has happened a few times before, and it seems to be tied to whenever my girlfriend goes out of town. She left this morning for a business trip and won't be back for five days. I guess I worry I'll die while she's gone? I dunno.

    Days like this always follow a good day, too. It's like a kick in the nuts, punishment for feeling right for once.

    Anyway, this kind of thing pushes me toward the Lexapro more and more.

    Has anyone else had an attack like this? What do you all think?

    Old 10-29-2012, 05:02 PM   #4
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    Re: I'm struggling, and I need help

    Im 35 and have been through alot of things..but I have to say anxiety is the worst.I was reluctant to take medication at first too. I tried everything "natural" under the sun but nothing got rid of it.I have been on Celexa for almost 12 years now!..Now dont let that scare you..just because I probably have to take these the rest of my life does not mean you have to. Most people can get off within 6 months to a year. Lexapro is almost the same as Celexa from what I've read. so if you do start taking I said it might be worse for the first week but it gets better after that.My anxiety is from when my man has to leave also...he could even just be 10 mins late and I think he crashed his truck.Thew great thing is with these meds is they still allow you to feel...but just the way a normal person would stress but without the horrible symtoms .
    The only reason Im back here is because I ran out of my pills for almost a week...this is a big no no...but its not the first time it has happend..I was fine untill my man got stuck somewhere till 12:00 at night and I couldnt get ahold of I suffered a Panic attack and the medication was missing from my system and now I have the Anxiety back again...just have to wait till it get fully in my system again...That being said these meds gave me my life back.I hope you can feel better soon again too

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    costochondritis, health anxiety, hypochondria, lexapro, light sensitivity

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